Definition of catacomb
1 : a subterranean cemetery of galleries with recesses for tombs —usually used in plural
2 : something resembling a catacomb: such asa : an underground passageway or group of passagewaysb : a complex set of interrelated things the endless catacombs of formal education — Kingman Brewster †1988
Examples of catacomb in a Sentence
explored the catacombs looking for evidence about burial customs of that ancient society
Recent Examples of catacomb from the Web
At that time of night, the subway was a catacomb and anyone walking around on the platform looked like a prisoner.
The internet is a virtual catacomb, where the skeletons of human decency line the damp, mildewed walls.
The catacombs are popular tourist attraction, but most tunnels remain closed off to the public and unauthorized entry is prohibited under French law.
Now, reports Daniela Petroff at the Associated Press, two chambers of the catacombs have been restored, revealing the underlying frescoes and graffiti for the first time in centuries.
Much like the myths of Christians hiding in the catacombs and being thrown to the lions in the Colisseum, there’s not much truth to the story.
Using lasers, restorers stripped away the deposits strata by strata — a technique never used before in the catacombs.
Thousands of bottles are stowed in the seemingly endless, labyrinthine catacomb-like wine cellar, which served as a bomb shelter during World War II.
Oh, and those catacombs, which in a nod to historical accuracy were going to be underground?
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'catacomb.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
About forty Christian catacombs have been found near the roads that once led into Rome. After the decline of the Roman empire these cemeteries were forgotten, not to be rediscovered until 1578. Catacomb has come to refer to different kinds of underground chambers and passageways. The catacombs of Paris are abandoned stone quarries that were not used for burials until 1787. The catacombs built by a monastery in Palermo, Sicily, for its deceased members later began accepting bodies from outside the monastery; today you may wander through looking at hundreds of mummified corpses propped against the catacomb walls, dressed in tattered clothes that were once fashionable.
Origin and Etymology of catacomb
Middle English catacumb, Medieval French catacombe, probably from Old Italian catacomba, from Late Latin catacumbae, plural
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
CATACOMB Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of catacomb for English Language Learners
: an underground place where people are buried
Seen and Heard
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